Who should have a Will?
At Thompsons we advise all our clients regardless of age to make a Will.
Can my Will be updated?
Yes, if your circumstances change you can make an amendment to your Will at any time.
What is an Executor?
An Executor is the person you nominate in your Will to look after your assets and deal with the administration of your Will when you die. When creating a Will you must name at least one Executor and this person must be 16 years old or older. We recommend that you nominate two Executors in your Will in case one dies before you.
What is the role of an Executor?
Your nominated Executor(s) is the person(s) who will ensure that all outstanding debts, bills etc are paid following your death and any money, property and possessions remaining are distributed according to your Will.
Who should I choose as my Executor(s)
You can choose between one and four people to be named as executors in your Will.
We advise clients to appoint more than one executor in case one of them dies, unless your named executor is a law firm.
Most commonly appointed executors are:
- Relatives or friends
- Solicitors or accountants
Do I need to appoint Guardians?
Only if you are the last living parent and you die leaving children under 16. A guardian will be appointed by the court if you’ve not nominated a guardian in your Will.
What if I own a property jointly?
When you own property with another person and there is a clause in the title deeds that states that the property is owned by for example Jean Smith and John Brown equally between and to the survivor…”
This means you have a survivorship destination this means on your death your half of the property would automatically be passed to the other co-owner and vice versa.
If your title deeds contains a survivorship destination and you wish to leave your share of the property to someone else in your Will, you will require to instruct a solicitor to remove the survivorship destination before proceeding with your Will.
Is it possible to give my house to multiple people?
Yes, however the outcome may prove impractical in the longer term. With so many individuals gaining equal rights to the house, it may be difficult to reach decisions regarding the house (e.g. maintaining, selling etc) since a majority would need to agree on the best course of action to proceed.
What’s the best way of leaving my house in my Will?
For many people their house is their biggest asset, so naturally they will want their loved ones to benefit from it. This can be done in a number of ways, either by leaving a share of the property to a beneficiary or by leaving a share of the proceeds of its sale to a beneficiary.
Can I leave members of my family out my Will?
In Scotland you cannot totally cut your spouse, civil partner or children out of your Will. There is an entitlement for these parties called ‘legal rights’ and this can be claimed regardless of whether or not the family has fallen-out.
Should I include my pension and life insurance policies in my Will?
Generally, pension and insurance policies have a nominee appointed to receive the proceeds of the policy should something happen to the policy holder. For that reason such policies generally do not form part of your Estate and are not usually included in your Will.
Are there tax consequences?
Depending on how much you own at the time of your death you may have to pay Inheritance Tax. Currently, your estate will owe tax at 40% on anything above the £325,000 IHT threshold when you die (or 36% if you leave at least 10% to a charity).
When you die, any assets left to your surviving spouse or registered civil partner are exempt from IHT (provided they are UK-domiciled), and together a couple can currently leave £650,000 tax-free once both have passed away provided the predeceasing spouse did not use any part of their own nil rate band.
There are ways to ensure you won’t have to pay more IHT that you need to, our specialist solicitors can provide advice on this when drafting your Will.
How much does it cost?
At Thompsons we keep our Will writing costs to a minimum. For a basic single Will the cost is £200, we can draft a mirror Will for your spouse or partner for an additional £100. More complex Wills may be more expensive and we will discuss this with you before undertaking any work.
Power of Attorney
Many people automatically think that after creating a Will they are protected should they be involved in an accident or fall ill and are unable to deal with their affairs, this is not the case.
A Will is not a power of attorney and should you become incapable of dealing with your affairs in the future a POA requires to be drawn up. To plan for the future while you have the capacity to do so you need to create a poa.
For further information on creating a POA click here.